If your baby’s belly button has you scratching your head, you’re not the only mama (or dad!) curious to know exactly how to take care of it. First thing’s first – new parents should avoid getting their newborn’s belly button wet until the cord falls off. You may remember the AAP used to recommend cleaning it with a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol, but the latest recommendations are to let it be. Simply monitor the belly button for anything suspicious (redness, swelling, discharge) instead. Be sure to keep the area free of any lotion you apply to your baby’s skin and when diapering your little one, be sure that the diaper does not cover the cord as the cord should remain dry and should not come in contact with any urine.
Now, onto that outie – about 10% of all babies have one. Babies can be born with what’s called an umbilical hernia, which sounds pretty serious but these rarely cause other medical issues and will likely disappear within 12-18 months. Your baby’s belly button may even increase in size over the first month, which is typical. To be sure that there’s no cause for concern, you can lightly touch your little one’s belly button. If it feels soft to the touch and your baby doesn’t seem to be bothered by it, it’s likely that there’s nothing more serious going on. If the area seems to be swollen or even discolored, it may be time to take your baby to a pediatrician.